It’s New Year’s Eve. What better town in the world than to celebrate in the Big Easy? Bourbon Street?  There is always a party going on around here.  So, let’s start with a day at the track, shall we?  Here is a closer look at the last card we will handicap in 2017, the Sunday races at the Fair Grounds:

1st: 12-2-8-5-7…Joe Bravo, who is having a superb race meeting with nearly 28% winners, gets the mount on the far outside with Lovemelikeyoudo (12). This is the one I highlighted earlier this week in our “Pedigree of the Day,” but she was scratched out of that race, in preference to this one. She was claimed for $30,000 and is in for $25,000 today. I think she is well worth this price. And, is my first Best Bet of the Day, as well. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the rest.

2nd: 4-2-1A-6-3…Start a Ware (4) has only 1 win in 20 lifetime starts, but has 3 seconds and 4 more thirds. Been close most of the year, too, with 3 seconds and 3 thirds in 12 starts. Drops down yet another notch for this spot today and picks up a huge rider switch. Will press the pace from the get-go and may be able to hold on this time. Hellofaguy (2) goes for a top percentage trainer, who just so happens to own this one, too. This gelded on of Arch picks up a huge rider switch for this try and gets a plummet to the bottom. OK training session here on Dec. 20. Watch out. Oscarific (1A) closed well on the grass the last time out against much tougher. Ran second three back on the dirt. Versatile sort will have to run his best today. I bet the 2 (take note) to win/place/show and then key the #4 under the “all button” in the exactas. Spreading out here.

3rd: 1-5-7-2…Louisiana Futurity…Minit to Stardom (1) is a 2YO filly I have touted before and she is a perfect 2-for-2 coming into this spot. Draws the golden rail and should be tough, even though she will be trying restricted Stakes company for the first time today. This daughter of Star Guitar has never been threatened, winning the first two by a combined 121/2 lengths. Watch out for this one. Second Best Bet of the Day, despite the low odds. Champagne Diva (5), Feisty Embrace (7) and Iona Star (2) all are running for minor awards today. I bet the 1 to win and then key the 1 over the numbers listed in one exacta and then key over the “all button” in another smaller version.

4th: 7-3-1-6…Restless Rambler (7) is a winning machine for trainer Bernie Flint. He has posted a record of 8-1-3 this year alone and has hit the board 9 of the last 10 races — with 8 wins mixed in there. Has won 3 in a row — easily. Come and catch this one if you can. Trainer Steve Asmussen shortens Banana Thief (3) — a gelded son of Kitten’s Joy — up a bit for this one today, after running third in the last try. This LA-bred will face open company, and that will be a stern test. But he does have the running style and the numbers to give these a try today. Will have to pick another rider, as the barn’s go-to jockey is on leave, tending to the unfortunate passing of his father. Fred’s Lucky Boy (1) and Belgian (6) both have a shot — especially the latter. Can’t dismiss the 6 — with Joe Bravo getting on board a Michael Stidham horse. They have teamed up to win .42% of their last 19 together. I bet the 7 to win/place and then box solidly with the 6. I key the 7-6 over all the numbers in a smaller version.

5th: 1-5-2-6-3-7…Economies of Scale (1) is a horse that I touted last time, and he ran third as the favorite. Caught a sloppy racetrack that day and never seemed comfortable with the run. If she gets a dry track this time, I expect her to run like she did on Nov. 1 at Churchill Downs — when she won by 11 that day. I wheel right back on this one and would love the 3-1 ML odds. Wicked Lick (5) is a filly who nearly won the last time out, beaten only a neck here on Dec. 7. Beat the preferred choice that day, but this one seems to like the off-going a bit better. Has 4 seconds in 8 starts this year. I take note. Diamonds for Leah (2) is a name I am used to, since my wife’s name is Leigh Ann. She is getting a considerable drop in class today and has posted 3 wins and a second in 8 starts this year. Keep a sharp eye on the tote board to see if the action flows this way. She is a burner out of the gate and draws inside, where the running has been awfully good. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and then key those 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

6th: 2-12-7-1-8-9…Jinx Johnson (2) has not been seen in the afternoons since running at Ellis Park back in August. But this 2YO daughter of Morning Line has been training lights out for the return (take note of the work on Dec. 23 at Evangeline Downs!). The trainer does great with first timers on the grass (.33%), first time at a route (.25%) and with the dirt-to-turf angle (.34%). This one gets all those checkmarks. As a result? Best Bet material here. Macho Orb (12) is a daughter of former KY Derby winner, Orb, who has run four times to date, all in MSW company. Gets the class drop today for a trainer who doesn’t fare all that well with first timers on grass or the dirt-to-turf angle, either. Had an OK work here on Dec. 19, but should appreciate the class relief and the rider has been OK. One Chance Fancy (7) is 12-1 ML odds and has a chance to “let you down.” But this one drops in class, as well, and finally gets the turf that the trainer has been looking for in the first two entries. May move up on the grass — as dam has 6 winners from 8 starters and 4 turf winners. That is the kind of info you get when you use Brisnet — the best handicapping tool in the land. Just ask me and Ed DeRosa. I bet the 2 to win/place/show solidly and then key the 2 over/under all the rest in the exactas.

7th: 7-8-4-12-5-8…Louisiana Futurity…My last Best Bet of the Day goes right here in Givemeaminit (7), for trainer Dallas Stewart and first time jockey Shaun Bridgmohan — who is having a real good meet (.28%). This son of Star Guitar has not won a race yet, but finds LA-breds only for the first time and he has a second in a MSW at Saratoga; a third in the G1 Hopeful Stakes; a 5th to Free Drop Billy in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland; and a fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar. Made 3-1 in the ML, and I will bet all day at those odds. My pick. I bet to win/place and key over/under all the other numbers.

8th: 1-10-14-2-12…Brad Cox will saddle Lil Vie (1) in this sprint on the grass, and she has already posted two thirds in her first two starts. This will be her first try on the grass, and we have already written about how well this barn does with that move. The sire does well with grass runners, too, and should be ready to score after being favored in the first two tries. Nice work here on Dec. 10 signals this one is sure ready. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest in the field — “all button.” I also use the 1 over/under the 10-14 with a bigger push.

9th: 9-2-5-8-1-3…Memory Magic (9) goes for a trainer who is off to a red-hot start here, sporting a record of 6-2-2 in the first 19 saddle jobs. This one gets a huge class plunge for this try today, and should appreciate the relief big time. Miguel Mena, the top rider at the meet, gets the call and that is a huge plus, as well. Anything But Amie (2) drops in class, as well, and has two seconds to show for her efforts in just 2 tries. The one to beat. Desert Empress (5) is 10-1 ML, but rates a chance in here with this being the second off a layoff. Trainer hits with .25% when that happens. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta and then key those 3 over the rest in another.

Good Luck &

All the Best/Gene